The European Union has made it clear that the UK’s Brexit transition is not going to be an easy one. Currently, the UK believes it can negotiate a deal where it does not have to abide by the free immigration laws of the EU, but will still have access to the free markets. While this would be the ideal situation for the Brits, the rest of the EU has made it clear that under no circumstances will a deal like this ever go through. The Prime Minister of Malta, has said, “the UK will not get a better deal than the deal it will get today.” This is particularly significant because Malta is set to hold the EU Presidency from January-June, a time when the UK was planning on officially triggering article 50.
The timeline of complications keeps piling up, not giving the UK the easy exit they were hoping for. Currently, the UK is embroiled in a court battle over whether or not the executive branch has the authority to leave the EU without a vote by the legislative branch. If the ruling (expected early next year) goes in favor of Parliament, then the UK must wait for Parliament to vote before it can begin the process.
Then, even if the UK meets its March 31st deadline to trigger Article 50, it could take up to two years of negotiations before a deal is reached. However, in May 2019 (two years from the exit date), a European Parliament election is scheduled. This could make domestic politics a much more important force in the Brexit negotiations – likely delaying a deal even further.
Some leaders within the UK government are calling for a second referendum, including the Treasury Chief. When will it end?
As Prime Minister Muscat of Malta declared,
“It will get complicated…Divorces are never easy.”